The novel unfolds in alternating chapters from the points of view of the four main characters. Andrew Compton, a convicted serial killer (based on real life serial killerDennis Nilsen), escapes his UK prison cell as a dead man in a self-induced cataleptic trance and rises again to build a new life. His journey takes him to New Orleans' French Quarter-- to the decadent bars and frivolous boys that haunt the luscious dark corners of a town brought up on Voodoo and the dark arts. Anticipating a willing victim, he finds an equal in Jay Byrne, a decadent artist (based on real life serial killerJeffrey Dahmer), who shares the same dangerous desires--torture, murder and cannibalism. They fixate on Tran, a young Vietnamese runaway, as their perfect victim. As Tran's long-standing attraction to Jay threatens to lead him straight to his demise, Tran's estranged older gay lover, Lucas Ransom (pirate talk radio personality "Lush Rimbaud"), seeks to find and reunite with him. The four collide in a horrific climax.